Stepping up with simple do-it-yourself cavalettis

I just love easy solutions, and this one fit the bill nicely. Our Morgan mare is a sweetheart, and I wanted to use cavalettis to encourage her to step things up a little. We’d done plenty of trot poles, so we were ready for a slightly more upbeat exercise.

Plastic Cavaletti Jump Blocks are available in tack shops and online. These are quite handy, but they are a little pricey. I found a pair on Amazon for about $60 (plus shipping).

So I started thinking. (I know. Alert the media.) I poked around in my garden shed and my basement and came up with something that actually worked quite well.

Back in the Dark Ages, when my kids were little, I picked up a couple of those Little Tikes blue and white molded plastic step stools. We used them all over the house. The kids climbed up on these little benches to cut out Christmas cookies. We set them in chairs as booster seats. And we placed them in the bathrooms when the kids were ready to use the big potties.

Then we sort of tucked the step stools away and forgot about them.

So I pulled the pair of plastic step stools out, dusted them off, and carted them off to the horse barn. I flipped them over in the riding arena, and placed a jump pole across them.

Voila! Instant cavaletti.

By the way, that Morgan mare almost immediately picked up the pace and added some elevation to her gait.

Where can you find these handy molded plastic step stools?

The Little Tikes step stools used to cost about $10 apiece. I think they’ve been discontinued, but there seem to be plenty on eBay. Here are a few similar products:

The secret is to look for sturdy and solid step stools that have arched bases, as these hold jump poles nicely. Folding step stools tend to be flimsier and not work as well. And who cares if the stools sport cartoon characters or bright colors?

Little step stools tend to cost lot less than shelling out $60+ at the tack shop. OK, sure. The plastic cavaletti blocks can be flipped to make jumps of varying heights. But for simple low cavalettis, the step stools are the bomb.

Photo by Linda Ann Nickerson for The Mane Point.
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